Levee Maintenance Program
In order to maintain the levees, landowners are required to obtain permits from some, or all, of the following regulatory agencies: the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (with consultation from the National Marine Fisheries Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife), County, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Regional Water Quality Control Board, Bay Conservation and Development Commission and the State Lands Commission.
Each year since 1980, through the RCD’s Levee Maintaoince Program we gather information from participating properties on the work done in the previous year and work to be done the coming year, and submit it to the permitting agencies. The permits include restrictions as to when and how much levee maintenance work can be completed. It also ensures that the environment and endangered species are protected. Under these permits, landowners are not allowed to construct new levees or expand an existing levee. With the assistance of the RCD, the landowners and regulators have reached an agreement to make maintaining levees a more efficient process for all parties.
Levee Maintenance Program Permits and Documents
- United States Army Corps of Engineers Regional General Permit 6
- San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board – Water Quality Certification/Waste Discharge Requirements
- San Francisco Regional Water Quality Control Board – Levee Maintenance Manual
- California Department of Fish & Wildlife 1602 Routine Maintenance Agreement
- California Department of Fish & Wildlife 1602 Routine Maintenance Agreement- Extension
- San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
- California State Lands Commission Dredging Lease
- Sonoma County’s Permit Sonoma Grading Exemption
- Biological Opinions from US Fish & Wildlife Service 1994, 1995 and 2000
- 2022 USFWS and NMFS Consultation
- California Environmental Quality Act, Notice of Exemption
Often, obtaining permits can be a lengthy and costly process. For example, receiving an individual permit for levee maintenance could take approximately 2 years to complete and can cost the landowner thousands of dollars. One way to save the landowner time and money, and to streamline the time spent by the regulatory agencies reviewing the permit applications, is for the RCD to administer one permit issued by each regulatory agency for levee maintenance activities being completed by numerous landowners. The effort of creating a permit program for maintaining the levees required the cooperation of many agencies, landowners, politicians and the RCD. The first permits were issued in 1980 and the RCD applies for a renewal of permits every five years. Mitigation for this permit program was required by the regulatory agencies and included the construction of approximately 71 acres of wetlands in Southern Sonoma County. To learn more visit our Levee Maintenance page here.
Kari Wester, Project Manager